It’s im­por­tant to root out the causes of dis­putes

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

Luo Zhi­long, 47, chief judge at a do­mes­tic tri­bunal at Yong’an Dis­trict Peo­ple’s Court in San­ming, Fu­jian prov­ince.

Most judges, in­clud­ing my­self, hope to con­clude do­mes­tic cases, such as prop­erty al­lo­ca­tion, as quickly as we did in the past, but also to erad­i­cate er­rors. In the past, some dis­putes were not re­solved sat­is­fac­to­rily, which of­ten caused ran­cor to linger be­tween di­vorced cou­ples or even prompt fur­ther dis­putes.

Last year, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court se­lected 30 courts across the coun­try, in­clud­ing mine, to par­tic­i­pate in a pi­lot pro­gram that ex­plored new ways of re­solv­ing do­mes­tic dis­putes. For ex­am­ple, we have been asked to im­pose cool­ing-off pe­ri­ods for di­vorc­ing cou­ples and to in­vite psy­chol­o­gists to of­fer as­sis­tance to them and their chil­dren.

In my opin­ion, the pi­lot aims to iden­tify the causes of do­mes­tic dis­putes and min­i­mize the harm to chil­dren whose par­ents are di­vorc­ing, in­stead of just solv­ing cases from the purely le­gal per­spec­tive.

For ex­am­ple, last year, a col­league told me about a man whose wife had filed for di­vorce. The man of­ten dis­turbed my col­league when he was work­ing on his case, and once even fol­lowed him home. I was a lit­tle un­nerved by the news, so I de­cided to make en­quiries into the man’s fam­ily life and be­hav­ior be­fore I made a rul­ing on the case.

I vis­ited the man’s com­mu­nity and spoke with some of his neigh­bors. I also asked for a psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­file to be drawn up. As a re­sult, I dis­cov­ered that the man had a bad tem­per, a type of men­tal dis­or­der caused by ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion, and he was un­will­ing to give up on his mar­riage.

The psy­cho­log­i­cal tests in­di­cated that he was not ca­pa­ble of rais­ing two chil­dren on his own.

I ex­plained his sit­u­a­tion to his wife, and per­suaded her not to leave her young chil­dren. Af­ter she un­der­stood the roots of their dis­pute and agreed to a cool­ing-off pe­riod for deeper re­flec­tion, she agreed to re­turn to the fam­ily home and look af­ter the chil­dren.

Fam­ily har­mony re­lates to na­tional sta­bil­ity. The higher the qual­ity of ver­dicts given in such dis­putes, the greater the ben­e­fit to so­ci­ety.

How­ever, all of this takes a great deal of time, and, given the rise in the num­ber of dis­putes, adds to our bur­den. In re­sponse, I think a new eval­u­a­tion stan­dard should be es­tab­lished for judges who han­dle do­mes­tic cases.

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